Pioneer Engineers 54th Annual Show

Drive for New Acreage Continues as One of America's Oldest Steam Shows Celebrates Another Successful Year

| November/December 2002

Left to right: Bill Stahl's 22 HP Gaar-Scott, engine number 12043; Ted and Beth Moorman's Frick Eclipse, engine number 12889; Ted Moorman and Eric Steinkamp's 1919 80 HP Case, engine number 34374 and Calvin Whitaker's 1917 26-75 Advance Rumely, engine number 14666.

Wandering around the grounds at this year's Pioneer Engineers show, I could understand why the club is keen on acquiring a new site for club activities and its annual show. The club, formally established in 1951, has been using the current grounds for close to 40 years. And while the grounds afford an excellent location, with mature trees ringing a natural hollow and easy access from Rushville, Ind., the current location is just too small.

The Pioneer Engineers Club has around 700 members, and this year club members brought 30 steam engines of various stripe to the show. But that was only the steam side of things. Add to this some 475 tractors and around 200 stationary engines (not to mention close to 200 stalls selling parts, antiques, curious and normal show fare) and the club's current 20-acre location suddenly becomes very small. So small, in fact, that for some years the club has been renting an additional adjoining 13 acres to Drovide Darkina for attendees.

This lack of space limits exhibiting in many ways. For some years the club has wanted space to plow, but with a main rail line running along the current show ground's northern edge and a county highway along the ground's southern edge, that's just not a possibility. Which brings us back to the club's drive for new grounds. The club intends to buy 80 to 120 acres to set up permanent facilities, and to date the club has pledges totaling $115,000. The aim is $500,000, half of which is pegged for acquiring the actual property with the rest earmarked for building construction. If the drive is successful, the Pioneer Engineers will be able to look forward to many more years of hosting what is arguably one of the best steam shows in the country.

Maddie and Charlie Backus got their wish when Harold Stark gave them a tour of the show grounds on his half-scale 18 HP Gaar-Scott.

Threshing and Sawing